Audible

 

It’s not about the players. It’s not about the protests. It’s about the NFL.

The Roger Goodell NFL has been anything but glorious. For all his assurances of defending the shield, the self-righteous proclamation of the Commissioner has yielded nothing less than the opposite. The NFL shield has now become a tattered, tainted symbol of lawlessness, disrespect, and selfish hypocrisy.

Consider the pattern that has brought the nation to at least a momentary disgust with the most dominant professional sport in the United States. Goodell’s first “defense of the shield” was to ban happy dance celebrations in the end zone. Randy Moss could no longer “moon” Packers fans in the end zone.

Who can forget the improper spinning of the football? This was also regulated. Goodell was determined to make sure that football didn’t spin out of control. (I just couldn’t help myself.)

Then came the minuscule suspension for a player beating his pregnant girlfriend senseless in an elevator. Only after being publicly taken to task by Maine Governor Paul LePage, did the NFL decide to administer a more appropriate suspension. The NFL continues to tolerate repeated domestic violence within it’s ranks.

But then the NFL decided to morph into a political entity. When the sovereign State of Georgia passed legislation to protect the Free Speech and Religious Freedom rights of ministers to refuse to perform gay marriages, the NFL threatened to remove the Super Bowl from their State. In remarkable display of cowardice the Governor of Georgia vetoed the bill, effectively knuckling under to the NFL.

Now the new bully of political spectrum was feeling very full of themselves. They banned socks and shoes that had improper support of the 9-11 tragedy. They banned the support of fallen police officers on NFL helmets. They mocked Christian players for kneeling before the game prayer.

Until now. Now, it works for them. Kneeling now is another way the NFL can throw it’s weight around and tell the fans it doesn’t give a rat’s hairy hindquarters what they think; in fact, the NFL thinks that protesting fans and the President of the United States need to show the NFL, the “proper respect”, Goodell’s own words.

The NFL calls an audible on what expression is allowed and what is not because they have very little to fear in the form of reprisal in the Free Market. Given non-profit status by the Federal Government, with rabid fans who are so addicted to the game they will ignore any disgusting behavior just so they can have their Sunday fix, and a populace whose value system is somewhere between nada and nil, the NFL has very little reason to behave itself and the more reason to throw it’s shoulders at it’s viewers. They will sit there, take it,and wait with bated breath for the next game.

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License To Hate

 

We have become such an “in-the-moment” society always searching for that singular rush, craving that fleeting buzz of pleasure. The concepts of forethought, responsibility, and repercussions in relation to our actions are nearly non-existent and are at best viewed as arcane, irrelevant in a licentious world. In a pleasure oriented society, the goal becomes feelings.

Each bump against convention is replaced with a deepening revolt against the norm as the heady flush of rebellion is dulled in turn demanding some new outrage to fulfill the ever burgeoning need to feel. Guilty pleasures are no longer enough so tantrums become the vehicle to supply the sensory demands. Violence is mixed in to create the greater escalation until finally layered with the ultimate payback. When the moment or even moments pass in the quest to feel, the king of the mountain surveys the wreckage upon which he or she stands  only to once again face the expanse of emptiness.

In times past, this pattern of self-destruction would be attributed to youthful waywardness and/or a individual’s propensity to learn things the hard way. Sadly now it seems the insatiable quest for feelings has rubbed the natural sensors so raw that we are dulled witless beyond even the natural cycle of lessons learned. Like the punch drunk pugilist, we are simply flailing against shadows and blurred images as the brain’s cognitive abilities shut down and the boxer falls unconscious.

No where was this better exemplified than the outrageous behavior at the campus of U.C. Berkeley. In an insane battle of anarchist versus anarchists, the most violent prevailed as the cowards in leadership of the school quailed in the face toddler-like tantrums. The First Amendment suffered another loss.

Across the broad spectrum of leadership in our Nation, from parenting to government, leadership has failed its society by accepting the childish excuse of “He made me do it!” as reasons for pathetic behavior instead of responding with the time proven principle of “I’m not dealing with him, I’m dealing with you!”, which forces said childish perpetrator to embrace the edicts of personal responsibility. The First Amendment allows for Milo Yiannopoulos’ despicable speech. It affords for students to protest his speech. It does not allow for violence to shut down the aforementioned despicable speech.

I don’t know much about Milo and this new alt-right, which is hijacking the conservative movement. What little I have read is repulsive to me and violates my core beliefs. But free speech is not free unless it is free for everyone and if my beliefs are so fragile that I cannot hear other beliefs contrary to mine, then my beliefs are fragile indeed and not worthy of my trust.

I watch now the vicious swing of the political pendulum and the punch back that is becoming the norm wondering if it will ever stop. Both sides keep pointing and saying “They made me do it!” I agree with Senator Marco Rubio when he warns we are flirting with a complete destruction of the treasure of civil debate. We cannot critique the President from either side, in the last eight years or with this new President, without a barrage of attacks and hate.

Yes, it is true that for eight years the left protected the President with blind loyalty and fealty that was appalling at best. Yet now it seems the strike back for this President is the same fealty that precludes him from any criticism without backlash. The mistakes of the last regime are not a license for the hate and retribution that I see from so-called conservatives as of late. If we truly want to make America Great Again we must remember that decency and civility was once the hallmark of this great Nation and avoid the shortsighted desire for the fleeting pleasure of payback, power, and to be king of the mountain.1

The Anti-Celebration: It’s All Inclusive

 

I recently read a post by another activist here in Maine that brought out a point to this anti-Christian gay-rights fervor that is sweeping our nation, which was something I had never really given much thought to. Genie Jennings asked, “Why would anyone want to force anyone else to attend or approve of their day of celebration if they don’t approve or want to attend?” The quotation marks are there to provide some sense of syntax but those words are more of a paraphrase then a direct quote. I was surprised, first, because this is an issue she doesn’t generally get involved with or speak about, and secondly, the direct simple question provided one of those “stop and think about that” moments.

I have worked with Genie on several different issues and she is always very thoughtful. She consistently provides unique perspective, so the insight was not the surprise. I just had one of those very selfish “whydidn’tIthinkofthat” intraflections…I think I made that word up.

When I was in college, there were certain events that required all students and staff from the school to be in attendance. All of us knew this. This was a very strict school and we had signed an advisement when we enrolled that clearly stated that there would be required attendance at certain events. Still, it didn’t prevent many of us from making wry and cynical remarks about having to engage in “mandatory fun”.

The reason for this rule, as it was explained to me, was to promote a feeling of unity and togetherness within the campus community. What it really did, in my observations, was create two groups of people at the “mandatory fun” banquet: those who wanted to be there and those who couldn’t wait to get out of there. Quite frankly, it was a relief to those who were enjoying the banquet when the others had fulfilled their “mandatory fun” quotas and bailed out of there, taking their killjoy attitudes with them.

So, again, why would you want anyone associated with your party, your celebration, your wedding that doesn’t want to be there? Why would you want flowers or a cake provided or delivered by a business under duress, with an “I don’t believe in what your doing, it violates my faith, but if I don’t do this the government is going to take away my business, take all my life savings, destroy everything I have, and force me to take reeducation classes” look on their face with the fury of the persecuted and aggrieved simmering just below the surface. Is this truly a moment of celebration or a moment to inflict punishment on those who will not willingly affirm your expression, so then they must be forced?

The “new freedom” is beginning its conquest of the American tradition and it’s starting with the basic foundation of that tradition: marriage. The “new freedom”, the freedom to sex, demands that all other freedoms affirm its sovereignty with their allegiance. If the Freedom of Speech speaks against it: Speech is silenced. If the Freedom of Religion preaches against it: Faith is punished. If the Freedom of the Press reports against it: Reports are crushed. If Commerce disagrees with it: Commerce is blocked.

Once again I ask do we value sex above all other freedoms? Is it more important to affirm lifestyle choices than maintain our personal freedoms? And how did we get here?

The “Truthiness” Bill

 

 

Once again the “Honorable” Senator Doug Thomas has produced a nearly unanimous by-partisanship in Augusta. A feat to be proud of; I’m not so sure. Senator Thomas is the sole sponsor of a bill so egregious that all the representatives in the House voted against it save one. Thomas’s one ally, Diane Russell, was a socialist Democrat from Portland.

 

LD 1834 would have given government bureaucracy the authority to determine for the people of Maine what is truth and what is a lie in a campaign. I guess Senator Thomas feels we are not capable of doing that for ourselves. His socialist friend agrees. In her speech to support the Thomas’s bill, she affectionately called it the “truthiness” bill. She was thrilled that she and “the good Senator …agree on something”. She admonished the legislature asking them, “Do you really want to leave it up to ‘The People’ to determine whether that’s true or false? She further extolled the “virtues” of the “truthiness” bill saying, “These are the important issues of our time and it is absolutely imperative that a government agency give us a hand-up on the truth.” Ah, a piece of legislation only a socialist could love.

 

We The People of Central Maine do not need government to “give us a hand-up” to understand truth. Is this really the way Senator Thomas feels about his constituents? Does he really believe we can’t think for ourselves? This is one more government intrusion we don’t need.

 

But this is not the first time the “good” Senator has forced Republicans and Democrats to join forces to stop him. Remember, he sponsored a bill to raise the fee on snow machine registration and impose a fine for late registrations. It was killed in committee by unanimous consent.

 

State registrations are a takings or a tax. So it is ironic that Mr. Thomas is attacking Paul Davis for not signing the tax pledge, while Doug Thomas signed the pledge and then proceeded to sponsor a bill to not only raise taxes on snow machines, but also fine those who registered late. So you make the comparison: One man prefers to let his record speak for itself and keep his pledge to the people by his actions, another, signs a pledge, then sponsors legislation to raise taxes all the while waving his signed tax pledge around like a get-outta-jail-free card. Where is the “truthiness” here?

 

His version of “truthiness” also has Paul Davis voting against the tax cuts. What Thomas fails to acknowledge is that Paul Davis voted against the budget because the Governor asked him to, along with a group of fellow conservatives in the legislature. The Democrats had watered down the Budget and the Governor vowed to veto it. He needed Conservatives to stand with him and Paul Davis did.

 

I wonder; Are all the other conservatives who stood with the Governor guilty of the same “crime” as Paul Davis? I’m sure they would like to know. Maine People Before Politics says that Paul Davis has a 100% rating of voting with the people. So, where is the “truthiness” here?

I think Mr. Thomas wants an exemption from his own bill. He is proud, though, of the glowing review he received from the Bangor Daily News. I recently heard former Senator Steve Hall state emphatically, “You can’t believe anything from the Bangor Daily News!” I couldn’t agree more!